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Aviation dispute with Europe escalates

Stephen Beard Jan 10, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: Europe and the U.S. are butting heads more and more on the issue of airlines. Today, U.S. transportation official John Byerly made some comments in Europe that are fueling the dispute. Our European Correspondent Stephen Beard joins us. Stephen, what did he say?

STEPHEN BEARD: Well Byerly was speaking ahead of a two-day meeting in Brussels on aviation issues and he said there’s no question of the U.S. allowing foreign companies greater control of U.S. airlines. At the moment they’re limited to a 25 percent stake. He says that rule is not going to be relaxed. Now that’s a bit of a blow for the EU because the EU’s been calling for that rule to be liberalized in return for an open skies deal, you know this elusive, all-embracing agreement between the EU and the U.S. to liberalize transatlantic air travel.

JAGOW: And what’s the rationale for not relaxing those rules?

BEARD: I think it’s a question of competition. I think it’s a question of, well this is the European perspective, of the U.S. trying to protect its domestic carriers from European competition.

JAGOW: Well this whole issue of aviation is causing even more distress between the EU and the U.S. Byerly went on to talk about emissions controls. What did he say about that?

BEARD: He said, slapping down the Europeans, saying any attempt by the EU to forcibly include U.S. airlines in this European carbon trading scheme, it would be illegal and the U.S. would challenge it in court. I think it’s to do with costs. This undoubtedly is going to put up the price of air travel. It’s going to add anything up to $50 to the price of a ticket.

JAGOW: Alright Stephen thanks a lot.

BEARD: OK Scott.

JAGOW: European Correspondent Stephen Beard in London.

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